GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. -- The sister of Juliana Wetmore, the little girl known worldwide as the "Girl Born Without a Face," is new to the First Coast and has started school here.
Danica Wetmore was in an orphanage in Ukraine before Juliana's parents worked for two years to adopt her. She just arrived in Jacksonville a few weeks ago.
Both girls are 6-years-old, born only two months apart. Both also suffer from the same rare genetic disorder, Treacher Collins syndrome. The story of Juliana's struggle with its symptoms is one of the most popular stories ever on firstcoastnews.com.
Danica and Juliana both go to Shadowlawn Elementary in Green Cove and are in a separate classroom for children with hearing disabilities.
Her teacher said Danica is absorbing new signs quickly; she came knowing some sign language from Ukraine.
Juliana's father, Thom Wetmore, said Juliana has a much more extreme case of the syndrome. On a scale of 1 to 10, Juliana would be a 10 and Danica would be a 3.
Obviously, the Wetmores understand there's much more to raising a Treacher Collins child than numbers, but statistics do help explain the situation.
Juliana has had 38 surgeries, but Danica will likely need fewer than 10, her parents say. Danica's new Dad said a dentist and a speech therapist have already begun working with Danica, who will need some teeth pulled and a cleft palate closed with surgery.
She'll likely go soon to Miami to meet with Juliana's surgeon, an expert worldwide in Treacher Collins.
Danica's new Mom, Tami Wetmore, said on the fun side, Danica has fallen in love with taking baths. In Ukraine, Wetmore said, there were only showers for the children in the orphanage. So now, the tub is a big treat.
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First Coast News